Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Introducing Wine Wednesday (and Lasagna Rolls!)

When Ryan and I started dating we'd alternate cooking dinner for each other once or twice a week.  Whoever wasn't cooking was in charge of bringing a bottle of wine to pair with the meal.  We started out with one bottle per meal, and then somehow it escalated to two bottles per meal which made for some pretty hazy mornings. Once we moved in together we realized it probably wasn't in our best interest to do that every night so he came up with the idea of "Wine Wednesday". Wine Wednesday is exactly what you'd surmise. We usually have a fancier than average meal paired with a wine of our choice. It gives us something to look forward to in the middle of the frequently stressful workweeks we both experience. Below is a recipe for Lasagna Rolls, our most recent Wine Wednesday foray. We paired it with what we refer to as our "house" red, a tasty 2008 blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot called Lyeth (pronounced "Lee-th"). Mangia!

Lasagna Rolls (prep time: 30 minutes, cook time: 40 minutes)

8 lasagna noodles
1 15oz. container whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 c. part-skim mozzarella, divided
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 10 oz. package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 slightly beaten egg
2 24 oz. jars of tomato sauce (in another feature I'll give a recipe for a simple sauce, but for this one, give yourself a break and use jarred sauce. My favorite is Classico's Tomato & Basil).

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Combine the ricotta, 1 c. of mozzarella, 1/4 c. parmesan, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, 1/4 c. of tomato sauce, and spinach in a bowl.  Set aside.
3.  Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain.
4.  Coat the bottom of a 9x13in. or 1.75qt. glass baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce.
5.  Spread each lasagna noodle with the ricotta mixture and roll it up.
6.  Place each rolled up noodle in to the baking dish.  Cover the top of the rolls in sauce. Spread the other 1 c. of mozzarella over the top, cover with foil and place in the oven.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the roll-ups are hot throughout.

7.  Serve warm with extra sauce and parmesan sprinkled on top.

Yields:  8 lasagna rolls.  Serves 4-6.

What about the Wine?! 
I always recommend a robust red when it comes to  Italian meals involving a red sauce. Lyeth (mentioned above) is a great, under $20, choice for this meal. Other suggestions include a Meritage (Robert Mondavi Reserve is a good one!) or a Sangiovese to compliment the flavors.

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